(1) Spirit: What Does It Mean?

Feb 24, 2024

We’re talking about reading the Bible. So, right up front, let’s put this on the table: When reading the Bible, we need the Spirit of God. All reading of biblical texts should be Spirit-led. All!

This is crucial.

We know from biblical texts that the Spirit of God

  • came on Jesus at his baptism (Mt 3:16), that he was “led by the Spirit” (Mt 4:1; Lk 4:1), and this allowed him to cast out demons (Mt 12:28);
  • dwells in us (Rom 8:9);
  • leads us so and that we are sons and daughters of of God (Rom 8:9, 14; cf. Gal 5:18);
  • was the power behind Paul’s preaching (Rom 15:19);
  • comprehends the thoughts of God (1Cor 2:11);
  • grants gifts to humankind and are spiritually discerned (1Cor 2:14);
  • was granted to Paul, who after giving his judgment said, “And I think I have the Spirit of God!” (1Cor 7:40);

And we know

  • that all followers of Jesus can speak by the Spirit of God (1Cor 12:3a);
  • that no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except when speaking by the Spirit of God (1Cor 12:3a);
  • that Christians worship by the Spirit of God (Phil 3:3);
  • that the Spirit of God rests on those reproached for the name of Christ (1Pet 4:14);
  • that anyone confessing that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh does so by the Spirit of God (1Jn 4:2)

So, I repeat:  All reading of biblical texts should be Spirit-led. All!

What Does It Mean?

Ok, now that we have accepted that, what does it mean? That the Spirit of God swoops down in such a way that we don’t need human effort or sense or education? That we can ignore or even repudiate human abilities, concerns, and evaluations? Is that what biblical texts meant? Is that what we mean?

Let’s get downright practical and personal for a minute. When your 12 year old daughter needs a kidney transplant, would you turn her over for medical treatment to a good person of faith and piety who is strong in the Spirit of God, but who never went to medical school even one day?


Don’t you believe in the Spirit? Are you trying to make this complicated? Just read the Bible!

These signs will accompany those who believe:
In my name . . . they will place their hands on the sick and they will be well." (Mk. 16:17 NET

. . . and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, (1Cor 12:9; see also Lk 9:42; Acts 10:38).

If you allow the Spirit to guide you about your daughter who needs a kidney transplant, would the Spirit lead you to reject, boycott, or ignore medically trained doctors? Or would the Spirit lead, nudge, or even push you to find medically trained people who know what they are doing to help your daughter, and these might also include some people who are strong in the Spirit?

We all get it. The texts quoted above were not written to turn you into an idiot so that you can harm your children “in the name of God!”

So how about we dump our spiritual schizophrenia and use the intelligence God gave us when reading biblical texts!

Spirit-led Bible reading is not a method; it’s an attitude of submission to God’s Spirit by the reader no matter what methods or rules one follows when reading—whether mere reflection, meditation, or some form of focused textual study.

Accepting this principle would solve all kinds of “Bible abuse”.

Series Intro: 
Power-Reading the Bible

1. Reading By the Spirit
Week 1: What Does It Mean?
Week 2: The Letter Kills
Week 3: What Could Be!

2. Reading the Text
Week 4: Methods

Week 5: The Prime Directive 
Week 6: Text Methods: Highs and Lows

3. Self Disciplines
Week 7: Methods for the Self
Week 8: Specialty Tools
Week 9: The Self and DBS

4. Summary
Week 10: Spirit, Text, Self: Our Repertoire


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